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Only a cynic can explain this



“Resident” Joe Biden has decided to stay in the race, though even he knows he performed disastrously in The Debate. Or rather, his family – his venal and power-hungry family – has decided for him. Only a cynic can explain their conduct – for a cynic knows what most on the left want you to forget. Which is that every person on Earth acts in his or her self-interest. They might try to hide it, but a close-enough examination of their drive reveals the self-interested motive. Every other analysis of this appalling situation is pretense, and pretentious. The only way those making that decision can keep an ounce of respect from anyone, is to drop all pretense.

How the Cynic school got its name

Our English word cynic comes from the Cynic School of Greek philosophers, which Antisthenes, contemporary with Plato, founded. (His name, incidentally, translates as “a replacement for vigor.”) Antisthenes taught at a gymnasium (literally, place of physical training, or place of nudity) called the Kynosarges – a name meaning “dog flesh.” How the Dog Flesh Gym got its name, no one knows. But decades after Antisthenes came Diogenes of Sinope, who declared that anything natural and easy should be allowed. In other words, Diogenes did not care where he did what he did. His fellow Greeks called him ho kyōn (Ho KOO-own) – The Dog.

Thus, Cynic came to mean “one who lives like a dog and doesn’t care who sees it or how they see it.” But more important than Diogenes’ in-your-face lifestyle was his declaration that no one is ever completely honest. His “search for the one true honest man” is proverbial. Diogenes laid it on the line: everyone acts in his own self-interest.

Centuries later, Robert J. Ringer would articulate Cynicism as no one else did before or has done since. In Winning Through Intimidation (1977) he described “Screw U.”, the School of Experience. He also described “Three Unforgettable Professors,” each of whom exemplified three types of people he met in “the business world.” Three years later, in Looking Out for Number One, he expanded on that thesis. Those Three Types are in fact Three Types of people you meet in all of life. To quote:

Type Number One understands, and lets you know up-front, that he acts in his own self-interest.

Type Number Two also understands that he acts in his own self-interest, but tries to make you believe otherwise.

Type Number Three either doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to understand that he acts in his own self-interest. His blandishments, which happen to be sincere, will then put you off guard.

In short: Type Number One tries to deceive no one; Type Number Two tries to deceive you, and Type Number Three deceives himself first and tries to deceive you second. Robert J. Ringer, from Looking Out for Number One (1980)

Is everyone, then, a cynic at heart?

No. Type Number Three is not a cynic; he is simply naive. Type Number Two is the worst kind of cynic, because he pretends to be your friend. Type Number One won’t pretend – so you know where you stand with him at all times. Ringer, in Winning, announced he had found, in Type Number One, Diogenes’ truly honest man:


Not only is Type Number One not crooked, but he is the most honest (by my own standard: “straightforwardness”) of the three types of people you meet in the business world. Robert J. Ringer, from Winning Through Intimidation (1977)

Or in other areas of life. Type Number Two – there is the crook. He is the virtue signaler, and that’s part of his act. Type Number Three signals virtue also, but in one way he is more dangerous – he means what he says. (At least until Decision Time.)

Self-interest manifests in two goals: money and power. Capitalism harnesses the money self-interest, by setting up a system of honest trade. Thereafter, “those who stand to gain from your earning and receiving income” won’t stop you, and might even support you. Those who do not so stand to gain, will oppose you, openly (Type Number One) or secretly (Type Number Two/Three).

The power interest is the most dangerous. George Washington was right:

Government is a fearsome servant and a dangerous master.

Power comes with trappings and privilege, and that might be enough for some people. But power is also a means by which either to:

  1. Steal large sums for oneself, or
  2. Revenge oneself against the world, certain types of people in it, or even specific enemies, real or imagined.

A cynic is a dog barking at society, warning against power seekers and thieves.

Arf, arf. Or increasingly: Gr-r-r-r!


Explaining the decision to keep Biden in the race

Once again, everyone in this drama has a self-interest to serve. Yesterday, the Biden family convened at Camp David, the official publicly owned Presidential retreat, to talk about The Campaign. Everyone at that confab knew that Biden had hurt himself badly. The only question for the family was: could he recover from that?

But that’s not the question any of them asked. Someone – probably a member of Camp David staff – has tattled on that conversation already. This source told The New York Times that Hunter Biden raised the loudest voice: “Daddy, please run!” First Lady Jill Biden echoed that refrain – and then told her husband that his poor performance was not his fault. She lays the blame on his advisers.

A top donor to the campaign shares that last sentiment – blaming the advisers and preparing to fire them all.

Other prominent Democrats do not share the family’s attitude. CBS News’ latest poll of the rank-and-file shows their fear. Democrat voters, citing Biden’s age, want a younger man to carry their standard. (Age is never a factor if a President can perform. The problem for Biden is that he can’t perform.)

Among the leadership, dissension is growing in the top rank. Tucker Carlson reported early Monday morning that Barack Obama wants “an open convention.”


Only if Biden releases his delegates will that happen. But another influencer, replying to the above, left two posts explaining something else: Obama is running the country.

Numbers behind the discontent

Laura Loomer, over the weekend, shared several posts showing the attitudes of various Democrats at different times. Here are some posts and reposts:

William Stevenson, Jill’s ex, gave an interview toThe New York Post over the weekend, according toFox News. He told the Post that he doesn’t recognize his ex-wife anymore, that she’s a completely different person. The Jill Stevenson Biden of today is a driven woman – driven by ambition. It’s as if she “wants to be … President now,” Stevenson said. He also said Jill let Joe Biden steal her away from him, beginning in 1972. The Post covered that four years ago. Still, Stevenson supported Democratic candidates and causes – until 2020. Now he supports Trump all the way.

For all the considerations of Biden’s failing health, the family announced yesterday morning that he was staying in the race. Yesterday afternoon the Democratic National Committee decided to stand by Biden. They now want to nominate Biden on July 21 – in the Credentials Committee.

That could solve some ballot access problems – but not the basic health problem. Big-money donor Bill Ackman – famous for refusing to hire anyone from Harvard who signed onto a letter blaming Israel for the atrocities its people suffered on October 7, 2023 – observed that the Democratic Party is now destroying itself.



Gr-r-r—there go, my heart’s abhorrence!
Robert Browning, from Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister

Ask any cynic: everyone acts in his own self-interest. Barack Obama’s interest is power, and so is Jill Biden’s interest. But Barack Obama knows that, if Joe Biden stays in the race, he (Obama) will lose his power. Jill Biden knows that, if Joe drops out of the race, she loses power – perhaps immediately. Dare she breathe the phrase lame duck? And Hunter knows that, once his father is out of office, he goes to prison.

The Democrats know they’re stuck with Biden; it’s too late to put another name onto the ballot. It was all very well for New Jersey Democrats, in 2002, to replace Robert G. Torricelli after the ballot deadline with Frank Lautenberg after Torricelli got into a scandal he couldn’t spin away. But New Jersey was and still is Democrat country, and Democrats controlled the Secretaryship of State and Division of Elections. This year the Democrats have to deal with Republican State Departments of State and Divisions of Elections. Riff Raff Raffensperger might agree to that double switch, but not any other Republican Secretary of State. Or at least not every other Republican Secretary of State.

So the Democrats are going to nominate Biden early, in the Credentials Committee. Barack Obama must be doing a slow burn.

Biden should release his delegates and open the convention. But he won’t, because his wife, and his own bitterness, say not to. That combination of venom and ambition might kill him – if someone else doesn’t. (And we know who.)

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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